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20160101

A letter to potential Trump supporters

Dear potential Trump supporter,

Let me introduce myself: I'm a politically moderate American citizen.  I know that I am moderate because I went to an incredibly liberal college and am a graduate student at a reasonably liberal university.  Meanwhile, the church that I attend is strongly conservative—this means I regularly witness both sides of the political spectrum.  I do not belong to a political party, and all I want (politically) is for the leadership of this country to make the United States of America the best country it can be.

The reason I am writing to you today because we are allies in this.  If you are considering supporting Trump in 2016, you see some appeal in his call to "Make American great again!"

In my opinion, none of the leading presidential candidates are great this year.  Clinton's lack of honesty is particularly upsetting, if unsurprising for a politician.  But I would vote for her over Trump, and I want to explain why.

It all comes down to fear.  I know that the recent terrorist attacks have been frightening, and that the idea of an influx of refugees can be unsettling to some, but we cannot be afraid of change.  The world has always been constantly changing, and the real challenge is not to resist change straight out, but to use it to shape our world for the better. All of our ancestors have felt fear and weathered change—from the men and women of the Revolutionary War to displaced Native Americans, from 1960s Civil Rights Movement activists to the refugees of far too many wars.  Change has shaped our history and shaped us as individuals.  Look back on your life and notice that your proudest moments most likely come from working hard and having the courage to overcome your fears—so too with our country.

My main objection to Trump as a political candidate is that he sensationalizes this fear and uses it to gain media attention and support.  Instead of encouraging us to have courage and find real, lasting solutions, he fans the flame of fear, then claims that he is the one to take it away with proposals that isolate large swaths of the population.  This is not the dynamic I want to have with my President.  I don't mind brutal honesty—in fact, that's one of the things I admire about Christie—but it is not acceptable to isolate citizens and make them feel uncomfortable in their own country.  How would you feel if your religion or ethnicity were singled out in a negative way?  We need a leader who is honest and can solve difficult problems without resorting to pointing fingers at demographic groups, especially not vulnerable ones like recent immigrants and refugees.

Some of my ancestors came over from England before the Revolutionary War and others were more recent immigrants from Poland—but all of my ancestors were immigrants to America.  Some sought religious freedom as they crossed the Atlantic Ocean as Protestants or as they walked across the Great Plains as Mormon pioneers—they were religious refugees in their day.  How can America be great if we treat the modern equivalents of our ancestors with disdain?

So here is my plea to registered Republicans and Democrats alike: don't make me choose between Trump and Clinton.  I would love to see a candidate I can support with confidence.  Better yet, I want to vote with regret, knowing that either candidate would "do our country proud," just in different ways.  But as it stands, it looks like I will vote with a different kind of regret, knowing that neither candidate can push our country toward the excellence it so rightfully deserves.

I don't want to see America revert to some old greatness.  I want it to continually improve, becoming greater and greater with time, just as individuals should strive to be better with each passing day.  That doesn't mean indulging in new ideas without thought, nor does it mean retrenching to some idealized past.  We need to find the path that balances old and new, conservative and liberal, and just and merciful to make America not just great, but exceptional.

Sincerely,
A registered voter

2 comments:

The Rose Family said...

Exactly!! Well written and sums up how I feel also-- except I would not be able to vote for either Clinton or Trump.

Dharmendra Sharan said...

Couldn't agree more. What's also worth noting is the polarization, and vitriol, it's not about how smart or intelligent or elitist one is, but how human one is, having fallacy, having the courage to take a stand, in-spite of however unsurmountable odds.. to have a character, it's the lack of this crucial element which made Hillary, though a first from a gender perspective, but she's too down with the system of pay-to-play, peddling power for money, influence and being above the law, being unaccountable to laws of the land, pseudo royal essentially a question of can the presidential candidate level with the people, and acknowledge mistakes and truly represent their hopes and aspirations and dreams...not that trump is holier than thou but at least he didn't wither over the in-numerous sexual tone of allegations, and tried to connect with the common folks on their issues, not just focusing on being a god, beyond human virtues, taking the mud slinging but fighting for the cause of the common folks in America. Lot of people still disagree with this and some still in shock of what was a supposed selection of the elite candidate which didn't happen, moral of the story it's better to have an average person with a heart than an intelligent mind who's a systematic manipulator a power hungry egomaniac as someone in whose hands rests the fate of the free world!. Hope some of this rings a bell...Glad to hear your candid thoughts and hopefully have been able to be open about mine. Take care,

Dharmendra